Former Dundee Star Matt Marquardt is unsure where his career will take him now after seeing his move to ECHL side Norfolk Admirals turn sour after they pulled out of the league for this season.
The Virginia based outfit, like the Elite League, opted out for 2020/21, citing ongoing health and safety concerns with coronavirus as it continues to impact on us all.
But it’s left the towering forward back at square one as he continues to try and find work in an increasingly different environment and while he concedes hanging his skates up is a possibility, albeit a distant one, he’s waiting for the phone to ring.
“I’m on the back nine of my career now at 33 years old so hopefully it’s not the determining factor in having to retire,” Marquardt told The Herald newspaper. “I’m a free agent and looking at the best option for everyone involved. I can’t comment on what comes next because I simply don’t know.
Excited to get down to Norfolk & get to work! https://t.co/YSuLehB4IU
— Matt Marquardt (@CertainlyMags37) September 25, 2020
“I always like to take my time in making a decision of where I’ll go and this was no different. I’d played with the General Manager at Norfolk so it made sense to me, plus if it was shut down, it meant I could drive home from Virginia rather than scramble to get a flight, like what happened back in March.
“Norfolk pulling out came out of nowhere because the league has so many deadlines. In the States, each area is governed differently with regard to events and social occasions so the teams are up against it with the various different rules and protocols in place.
“With the business side of things, there’s the worry of not making ends meet and the likelihood of things not changing so the management keep everyone up to date with information. In the end, pulling out this year was what Norfolk had to do. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the way it is.”
While Marquardt hadn’t committed to another year with Dundee, after spending the last two working as player-assistant coach to Omar Pacha, the return to North America was a sensible one for him in the current circumstances and he’s not given up on it yet.
As he admits, he’d psyched himself up to playing this season and that remains the case as he seeks the next opportunity that will keep him going for another season. Whether that happens is another thing, but Marquardt insists he’s staying patient for now as he waits.
“I’ve been training and skating hard, preparing as best I can and it gets harder as you get older, so staying on top of things is important,” he added. “I still love the game and still want to dedicate myself to it on and off the ice. I’m not used to being home at this point.
“I’m remaining patient about the situation although it sucks that I thought I had found somewhere to play this year, but things had changed. I’d prepared for it so now it’s keeping tabs on other teams and what’s going on in the league, hoping I’m an asset they’d like to bring in.
“If there were an opportunity away from the rink that came up, then I’d be comfortable stepping away from the game, but I’m not there yet. As for coming back to the UK in the future, I’d never rule anything out. I had a great time in Dundee the last two years playing in front of the great fans they have.”